Telos discovered this information related to the question "Why is the sky blue?":
- Rayleigh, Lord (1842-1919) was a British physicist who made many important discoveries in a wide variety of fields. He received the Nobel Prize in physics in 1904 for studying the density of gases and for discovering and isolating the chemical element argon. Argon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas element that forms 0.94 percent of the earth's atmosphere. Lord Rayleigh and William Ramsay discovered it in 1894.
- In 1871, Rayleigh accurately explained why the sky is blue. The colors of the sky result from the scattering of sunlight by the gas molecules and dust particles in the atmosphere. Sunlight consists of light waves of varying wavelengths, each of which is seen as a different color. The shortest light waves appear blue and the longest red. The blue light waves are readily scattered by tiny particles of matter in the atmosphere, but the red light waves travel undisturbed unless they are struck by larger particles. When the sky is clear, the waves of blue light are scattered much more than those of any other color. As a result, the sky appears blue.
degravedi discovered that the chart of letters was a Vignere cypher, using "argon" as the key. Decoded, it says, "ministry of argon cord invites those that desire to join our elite force to first electronically mail at britain dot com use my first signed the herald".
About the mention of a queen in Dawn's version of the e-mail: she reminds us, "during Vanessa Atalanta, I was one of the two Queens."
Note that both e-mails were dated April 23, which is Shakespeare's birthday; the anniversary of his death is April 26.
degravedi found out that "Libatrix", the name used by the person who sent the e-mail,
- is part of the scientific name for an apparently common UK moth 'Scoliopteryx libatrix' also called 'The Herald'. It fits with the phrase 'Around in circles do we fly', as moths circle light sources. Perhaps it's a more ominous reference to the idiom "like moths to a flame", either signifying that we can't resist following or will be burned by doing so..
The Vanessa Atalanta ARG made much use of butterflies in naming characters.
What is the Ministry's e-mail address? (solved)Edit
The application mentioned above seemed to want us to figure out a particular e-mail address and send an e-mail to it.
E-mail addresses which have been tried:
- scoliopteryxSPLATbritain.com [degravedi]
- libatrixSPLATbritain.com [degravedi]
- theheraldSPLATbritain.com [degravedi]
- thehearaldSPLATenglandmail.com [Telos]
- libatrixSPLATenglandmail.com [Telos]
- thehearaldSPLATenglandmail.com [Telos]
- loltestSPLATenglandmail.com [Telos]
- ministryofargonSPLATbritain.com [TremereBear]
- jeanpierreweillerSPLATenglandmail.com [Dawn]
- williamshakespeareSPLATenglandmail.com [Dawn]
- mailSPLATbritain.com [Dawn]
- jeanSPLATbritain.com [Dawn] This definitely isn't the one we're supposed to send our applications to, but does it actually work? Dawn says no, Telos says yes.
- vanessaSPLATbritain.com [dreamerblue]
- PheidippedesSPLATbritain.com [distilled]
Dagada made the connection between The Herald, Atalanta, Carina, and Jason and the Argonauts.
Distilled tried firstname.lastname@example.org and received a response (Aethalides (Αἰθαλίδης) was the son of Hermes & Eupolemeia, and a herald of Argos).
email@example.com is the solved email address to receive ministry invitations.
Passwords: Indigo and VioletEdit
On April 28, distilled "mistakenly" received an e-mail intended only for active (not probationary) MoA agents:
- MINISTRY OF ARGON
- Password reminders
- Due to the nature of our work, we must ensure all documents are secure.
- While we have new recruits accessing our network, all work that is Indigo or Violet clearance should be encrypted and locked with password.
- [Green and lower are not required as all accessing these files have been vetted through Herald].
- Reminder of work type:
- Indigo: Acquisitions, negotiation/diplomacy channels, banking
- Violet: Targeting, removal information, clearance.
- Please find below reminders of these:
- Knife for steak cut 
- This has replaced fork for steak cut  due to complaints of r.s.i.
We have since received a Word document which requires a password to open it. Since the file is named "Target 628.doc" and "Targeting" is listed above as something that requires Violet clearance, we likely need to figure out the Violet password in order to open it.
The image is of the Rotating Snakes illusion and was created by Akiyoshi Kitaoka, a professor of psychology in Japan. Lots of info on it can be found at http://www.michaelbach.de/ot/mot_rotsnake/index.html and http://www.ritsumei.ac.jp/~akitaoka/rotsnakee.html . It works due to something called peripheral drift.
The snake's tongues can be seen at certain points of the illusion, but otherwise they seem to have no discernible beginning or end. In this way, they are like an ouroboros (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouroboros). Note that the magician on card 1 of the Tarot has an ouroboros for a belt.
Some of the passwords we tried to use to open Target 628.doc can be found in a discussion on Claire's Ning. We eventually found that the password Violet was Kitaoka (the last name of the artist).
Masquerade, The Golden Hare, Bamber and KitEdit
Aethilides added 2 pictures to the Ning. Both of crosses, stating that "Someone asked where the Ministry began - in one sense, here." - one with the title "casting shadows". Find it here: http://argobritain.ning.com/photo/casting-shadows?context=latest.
A while later he added a picture of Britain with a spot just north of London. This was discovered to be Bedfordshire - this image has now been removed.
Following this he added a fragment of an image with the three letters "QUE", the image appeared to have been put through a number of filters - this image has now been removed.
It was discovered that the "QUE" was part of the word "Masquerade" - a book by Kit Williams in which the protagonist must transport a gold pendant of a hare from the moon to the sun (this is depicted as transporting it from a woman to a man) however, upon reaching his destination he discovers he has lost the treasure and the reader is challenged to go on a real life treasure hunt to find it. Kit Williams is the Mr Fourniment who Aethilides refers to; "fourniment" translating into "kit" from French.
What actually happened was that Mr Williams buried the treasure at Amphill in Bedfordshire. Supposedly, at the stroke of noon on the date of either the vernal or autumnal equinox, the shadow cast from the Cross of Katherine of Aragon would show the exact location of the treasure (hence the name of the first image "Casting Shadows"). I also believe that the mention of Princess Beatrice in the 8/8/88 puzzle was eventually meant to be another clue to Ampthill as an earlier Princess Beatrice opened the Cenotaph on the cross at Ampthill in 1922.
Aethilides' final image is of the front cover of Bamber Gascoigne's book "The Quest for the Golden Hare" (1983?) - Bamber was a well known TV presenter and there are a number of clues which A gave to allude to him (the title "I'll have to hurry you" is reminiscent of Bamber's pressurised style of presenting University Challenge). Bamber was a celebrity witness to the burial of the Golden Hare at Ampthill Cross, and his book tells the story of the process. Find the picture here: http://argobritain.ning.com/photo/casting-shadows/prev?context=latest.
There are a couple of facets which we could follow, but I believe the idea is to discover who the founders are, and what their purpose was.
Katherine of Aragon
Held captive at Ampthill Castle - the cross at Ampthill was dedicated to her and of course her name is suspiciously close to Argon! There is a passage inscribed on the cross which is dedicated to her:
"In day's of old here Ampthill's towers were seen,
The mournful refuge of an injured Queen;
Here flowed her pure but unavailing tears,
Here blinded zeal sustain'd her sinking years.
Yet Freedom hence her radiant banner wav'd,
And Love aveng'd a realm by priests enslav'd;
From Catherine's wrongs a nation's bliss was spread,
And Luther's light from Henry's lawless bed."
Kit Williams, Bamber Gascoigne and Masquerade
The treasure was buried at Ampthill cross. A talks about how Gascoigne and Williams took an idea and made it reality (I assume by taking the idea of a treasure hunt from the book and actually pulling it into reality). A has emphasised that our treasure hunt can be done from anywhere in the world.
"Did Mr. Fourniment point the way figuratively, or is the finish line for his little race the starting pistol for ours?"
and Aethilides replied:
"Lords of time do not use guns... *smile*
He definitely pointed the way, but more in the mind rather than on the ground as it were. This venture can be undertaken wherever you are in the world, though, I fear, some aspects may triangulate to specific regions due to the Helmsman's decisions. Think of it like an arrow..."
This has a random Doctor Who reference in it, which came out of nowhere (this hasn't been properly explored yet). As well as the allusion to the "arrow"
On April 28, Poeas sent Sirannon a document named test.doc (see http://rapidshare.com/files/381386053/test.doc.html). The subject line of the e-mail was "Last test of loyalty."
The body of the message read:
- Tell me the shape I have hidden and I will reveal everything I can.
- See attached.
- Do NOT google* any part for at least an hour after receiving as this will trigger a loop which will get us both into trouble.
- Please, work it out for yourself - apply your brain and your Airy thoughts.
- H le R**
- "*or any search engine - no fishing either!
- "** it is, and always is H le R not HdR - I was tired - sorry!
[note: the quote marks in front of the last 2 lines above are only to keep the wiki from turning the asterisks into bullets...I didn't like the code view, either, heh -- dreamerblue]
Pulling out only the italicized letters from the document yields redunitcwestermancomhove.
distilled was able to crack the code from there:
- "red unit-c westerman com hove"
- Hove is a place in the south of England - near Brighton. So, I did some digging. Observe my power!
- Red Herring Studios, Unit C, Westerman Complex, School Road, Hove BN3 5HX T/F 01273 747503 infoSPLATredherringstudios.org
Further digging showed that this website is older than this game, so while we were supposed to find the website, we are not likely supposed to do anything with it...it really is a red herring :).
However, the red herring was not the only thing Poeas wanted us to get to in the document.
A second message related to this:
- subject: awaiting the shape
- and the reasons behind it - read your attachment again don't be fooled by he italic fish though, just focus on the actual words.
- Easy as huh?
- Poeas, smiling slightly but still scared, knowing Orpheus will eventually look back...
And a third:
- subject: Spring is for healing
- Tick tick tick...
Attached to that message was http://docs.google.com/document/edit?id=1qzsbXH3TsHH7iQvicphVbcUh1LoTbYjNZzp3lxO18cc&hl=en .
The document's filename was "place.doc". Telos discovered that moving a blank image out of the way in this document and trying to select the space behind it showed that white text was hidden on a white background. The text read:
- Due to rules of fair play
- And not ruining the day
- I now set up a rhyme
- To help you pass the time
- The dome now is bright copper green
- His crest from here was fully seen
- First aflame, then hidden face
- Tell me Argonauts, where is the place?
- Answer soon and I will tell
- Prove yourselves to be all well
- Answer late and time will pass
- An axe may fall upon the lass…
The visible text read:
- What shall we think of an engine of wood and metal which can not only compute astronomical and navigation tables to any given extent, but render the exactitude of its operations mathematically certain through its power of correcting its possible errors?
Then, in much larger text:
- In for ever knowing, we are for ever blessed;
- but to know all were the curse of a fiend.
Amandel discovered that the first visible section is from an essay by Poe titled MAELZEL'S CHESS-PLAYER. In the quoted section Poe speaks at length about Charles Babbage's machine and early "computers" with remarkable insight. He also asks, "But if these machines were ingenious, what shall we think of the calculating machine of Mr. Babbage?"
Telos discovered that the quote in larger text is from The Power of Words, also by Poe. (http://xroads.virginia.edu/~hyper/POE/powords.html)
On May 8, Poeas sent another prodding e-mail:
- Time's moving on
- And the lass is prone
- 'He' was Dyson
- Saw with friends, not lone.
- The royal we
- infers friends of sight
- from School perhaps
- London's not right...
- The time is needed
- The runes are round
- They number second
- to location's ground
- George V is king
- You know who's queen
- Tell me where
- ekleípō was seen
- The axe is sharpened
- Time passes fast
- Who breaks the circle?
- Who will last...
Amandel discovers that ekleípō is "An eclipse (Ancient Greek noun έκλειψις (ékleipsis), from verb εκλείπω (ekleípō), 'I cease to exist.'"
A further e-mail sent May 10:
- No shape returned to me. Obviously I can't COUNT on your thinking beyond the obvious there.
- Regarding the place for Tiphys [yes I still get the warnings too...] no news back either.
- One question - as I am risking my life to help beyond my family but your friend too... Why should I rely on people who can't work out basics?
- A last offering of a helpful hand, before it become the one that weilds a weapon...:
- The axe swings
- For one final time
- I can’t believe
- You need this one last rhyme
- Most are threatened
- By the future past
- The key figure
- Has his laugh last
- The place he sees
- The sun and mask
- Should be your only
- Final task
- Almost half seven
- In army time
- Years or minutes
- Solve this rhyme
- I cannot rely
- On those sans brain
- Hence this riddle
- And my help, again
When V posted her May 10 blog, it included some mnemonic devices people use, including one in which the number of letters in each successive word correspond to the successive digits of pi. Amandel figured out that the poem in test.doc is a very complicated mnemonic device for even more digits of pi! It was suggested that perhaps the shape that Poeas had hidden was a circle.
On May 12, after asking her if the hidden shape was a circle and the place we were supposed to identify was the Old Royal Observatory location, Poeas sent this to Amandel, confirming the shape but not the place:
- When red becomes green
- The circle is seen
- and men look up at the sky
- But their location is in
- 'Where time does begin'
- But instead somewhere else - do try...
- Hosts who count down
- With Carol and town
- On the English terrestrial four
- Attended this place
- No conundrum or pace
- But instead waited by the school door
- Now my rhyme comes to an end
- Dear foe, or indeed friend
- And I make my plans alone it seems now
- For those I did ask
- Did fail in their task
- And the axe will now fall - but how...
- A chance as I hope
- That time's not a joke
- For those who I may need to rely on
- Your minds need to focus
- To locate the right locus
- Times ticking, I plan, The Ministry spies on...
Dagada worked out much of this: "The 'Count Down' and 'Carol' references may link to the UK TV show 'Countdown' which was co-hosted by Carol Vorderman for many years. This show was filmed in Leeds for Yorkshire TV, although I doubt that has relevance. The main host was Richard Whiteley. Terrestrial Four will relate to the fact the show was on Channel 4." He also found out that Richard Whiteley attended Giggleswick School, and that an eclipse was viewed from there.
jessie1326 further discovers that, according to Wikipedia, "The grounds of Giggleswick School (near the Chapel) were selected as the official observation post for the 1927 solar eclipse and thus Sir Frank Watson Dyson, the Astronomer Royal, was blessed with a wonderful view of the flaming corona of the sun through the whole 23 seconds of its total eclipse." This location therefore has a connection to Dyson and the viewing of an eclipse; it just took us a long time to figure out that we were supposed to figure out where he saw the 1927 eclipse rather than the one in 1919.
A picture of the school's chapel's copper dome can be seen at http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/w1J90BzSps-QU52dJ_apBA .
Around in circles documentEdit
Robin starts the 26
while Bluetit give you the 'eye'.
Victory says the sparrow
whilst bats aren't birds but fly
'You' will like the mute swan
The crow will 'be' there too
The coot wil give you 'ell' though
Now go - you've read - please do...
This passage was a clue to the Around in Circles.doc which had puzzled every player for the previous few days. What this passage alluded to was that each bird in the grid referred to a letter. Bluetit being "I" (or, "eye"), sparrow being "V" and so on. The document was decoded by degravedi to mean the following (after a bit of jiggery pokery regarding word division):
"If you go to London town, where sixty pounds gets you brown, three butterflies greet ladys noun... Keep left!!! Turn around.
Around in circles do we fly, all but one birds of the sky, guard is crow with his eye, yet pica twice points low no high.
Betwixt the stars where five can eat, three are found to sail or seat, dont be cross or incomplete, under circles by your feet."
Distilled discovered (after clues left by Poeas) that the first line "sixty pounds gets you brown" referred to Old Kent Road (a £60 brown property on a Monopoly board), this lead celendis to discover Burgess park nearby.
The "three butterflies" referred to three butterflies over Wells Way underpass, seen here: Wells Way Underpass
Following the various clues we were able to direct Claire to the 5 benches north of the lake, and from there to the boat shaped seats nearby, under the seat with rings on Claire located the USB stick.